Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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XXI - Before Justina

On the veranda I found cousin Justina pacing back and forth. He came to the landing and asked me where I had been.

"I was here on foot, talking to D. Fortunata, and distracted me. It's late, is not it? Mom asked about me?

He asked, but I said that you had already come.

The lie startled me, no less than the frankness of the news. It is not that Cousin Justina was of bio-glasses; said frankly to Peter the evil that he thought of Paul, and to Paul what he thought of Peter; but to confess what a lie is that it seemed new to me. She was a four-year-old woman, thin and pale, with a thin mouth and curious eyes. He lived with us please of my mother, and also of interest; my mother wanted to have an intimate lady at her feet, and rather a strange relative.

We spent a few minutes on the balcony, lit by a lantern. To know if I had not forgotten my mother's ecclesiastical plans, and telling her no, inquired about my taste for fatherhood. I replied elusive:

"Father's life is very beautiful."

"Yes, she is beautiful; but what I ask is if you would like to be a priest, "he explained, laughing.

"I like what Mother wants."

"First Gloria wishes you very well, but even if you did not wish to, there is someone in the house who puts that in your head."

-Who is it?

-Well, who! Who is hade to be? Primo Cosme is not, who does not care about it; me neither.

-José Dias? concludes.


I wrinkled my forehead questioningly, as if I did not know anything. Prima Justina completed the news saying that even that afternoon Jose Dias had reminded my mother of the old promise.

"Gloria, it may be that, in passing the days, she will forget the promise; but how can you forget that a person is always in your ears, you will give, talking about the seminary? And the speeches he makes, the praises of the church, and that the priest's life is this and that, all with those words that only he knows, and that affection ... Note that it is only to do evil, because he is so religious, like this lantern. For it is true, even today. Do not take it for granted ... This afternoon you spoke like you do not know.

"But did you say anything?" I asked, to see if she was telling the story of my relationship with my neighbor.

Did not tell; made only a gesture as if to indicate that there was something else he could not say. Again he advised me not to think of myself as such, and recapitulated all the evil I thought of Jose Dias, and he was no small thing, an intriguer, a sycophant, a speculator, and, despite the bark of politeness, a rudeness. I, after a few moments, said:

"Justina, could you do something?"

Of what?

"Supposing I did not like being a priest ... you could ask Mom ..."

"Not that," he said promptly; Gloria has this business firmly in her head, and there is nothing in the world that makes her change her mind; just the time. You were still little, she told all the people of our friendship, or just known. There revive his memory, no, that I do not work for the misfortune of others; but also, ask for something else, I do not ask. If she consulted me, well; if she would say to me, 'Prima Justina, what do you think?' My reply was: 'Gloria, I think that if he likes to be a priest, he can go; but if you do not like it, it's best to stay. "And what would I say and say if she ever consulted with me. Now, go talk to him without being called, I will not.


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